15 crore workers go on strike across India over anti-labour laws

The bandh has affected functioning of essential services like banking, transport and power supply

New Delhi: Crores of workers across India held a 24-hour strike Wednesday in protest to government’s economic policies, which they say will put jobs at risk and hurt ordinary people.

Ten major unions went ahead with the day-long strike over the government's pro-business initiatives after talks with Finance Minister Arun Jaitley broke down.

Unions are demanding the government dump plans to sell off stakes in state-run companies to boost the public purse and to shut down unproductive factories.

Some 15 crore workers, including those in the banking, manufacturing, construction and coal mining sectors, were expected to walk off the job Wednesday.

Trade unions' nation-wide strike observed in Khammam, Telangana (Photo: Twitter)

The strike also affected transport. Long lines of commuters and school children could be seen at bus stops early Wednesday, while passengers were stranded at airports as taxis and rickshaws stayed off the streets.

Financial services were expected to be hit by the strike, with many banks shutting their doors for the day.

Hawkers, domestic workers and daily wage labourers were also expected to join the strike to demand an increase in the minimum wage.

Television footage showed the strike's impact in the eastern state of West Bengal, where unions enjoy significant clout, with the capital city of Kolkata mostly deserted with bank branches, shops and other businesses closed early Wednesday.

( Source : pti/afp )
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